Wallate " Ratman" Thibodeau
His Sister Writes -
Thank you for this wonderful place. I have been in it several times, just in the last 2 days. Emmett Mulroney of Haweye 1 Alpha, gave me the information so that I could find it and now I just can't seem to stay away from it. I have several articles from different newspapers out of Viet Nam you might be interested in. One article by Benny Perez, says that Rat had been in Viet Nam since July 28, 1964, which is when I kind of thought he went over there as an advisor?
At that time, however, he was attached to the 52nd Security Detachment as an infantry machine gunner. It mentions that he was at Camp Holloway and had to go on a sweep made to Pla Ma Naiu, they came across a tunnel in which Buddy was sent to investigate. Another one is Feb 2, 1968 where Lt Breeman Baker, Camp Holloway Security Force Commander, Thibodeau and 2 squads were sent out to the Rice Paddys to look for the enemy who had that morning had them under mortar attack. What they found were three mortar positions that 'Charlie' had used to hit Camp Holloway that a.m. These positions were on the outskirts of Plei Monu Village located about one and a half miles from Camp Holloway. It goes on to tell of how Thibodeau had to enter a tunnel without his Lucky Chicken Feather, and the exchange that went on between him and his friends there at the tunnel. It was a very funny story, but then again, Buddy 'Rat' was a very funny guy.
I have a couple of more recent clippings, one, out of Camp Radcliff, about the Hawkeye team with Thibodeau, PFC Dennis Belonger, PFC Robert Thomas and an unnamed montagnard team member. Written by PFC Chuck Colgan. This one is pretty funny too, except I imagine it was also pretty scary as it was happening. It is a time when their team ran into about 15 enemy soldiers carrying rucksacks and AK47s, the Hawkeye team just happened to have some detainees with them to worry about AND the dilemma as to how to get out of there safely. The team did get out of there safely only after they had confused the enemy. Thibodeau had Belonger stay in a nearby structure, they had come across, with the detainees while Thibodeau, who had a whistle, started running and blowing it. The other men were running around yelling like crazy, zigzagging and firing into the tall elephant grass. They say the team never got any closer than 40 meters of the enemy force, as the enemy was really moving out in all directions. Thomas didn't even think the enemy got off more than a few rounds at them. Thomas captured one and led him back to the structure, Thibodeau dashed back in to report the action to headquarters and Bolonger decided it was his turn to run out and join in on the fight. When he got out there the Montagnard was still running around firing into the tall grass, so Bolonger joined in with his M79. The article says that every so often one of the enemies heads would pop up out of that tall grass as if they were trying to locate one another.
The last article I have is from the Ivy Leaf, Famous Fourth, Camp Enari. Firebase Blackhawk dated 2/23/69 by Sp5 Robert G. Frechette. The name of the article is 'Hide and Seek VC Lose in Bad Game'. This one isn't funny at all. It reads, the Famous 4th Division 1st Brigade Long Range Patrol team was instrumental in the death of two V.C. during a harrowing game of "hide and seek" Private First Class Norvert Yan of Palau Island, Thibodeau, Emmett Mulroney of St Paris, Ohio, Specialist 4 George Pender of Beaverton, Ore, and Private First Class Randy McBride of Hayward, Calif were engaged in a lot of pretty hairy stuff with the bad guys, which later, after the reinforcing element from Co. C, 1st Battalion 8th Infantry arrived they uncovered several huts and two small grain caches. It was a successful mission the article said.
If you would like, I have no way of sending these via e-mail, but I could retype the full articles and send them to you. Thank you Emmett and Larry for telling me about this site, and Ron for making it available. I have tried to find those of you that I've known of for years. I have always been proud of my brother and have always wanted to connect with his friends. I was able to get to know Al Kidd not long after you all sent Buddy home to us. Back then I was THE spoiled brat teenage sister. But he was still my idol and even then I looked up to him. From the pictures and things I would like to tell you all, Thank you for caring so much that even after 30 years you still remember him like I do. Thank you and WELCOME HOME.